Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 19:19 UK

Broadcast group's budget revealed

BBC television studio

The Scottish Government's commission to investigate the state of broadcasting has been handed a £500,000 budget.

The group will advise ministers on the way forward for TV production and other forms of broadcasting.

The commission chairman, former BBC Scotland head of news Blair Jenkins, will earn £387 per day. Its other nine members will be unpaid.

Labour said the SNP administration was spending hundreds of thousands on an area which is reserved to Westminster.

Provisional budget

First Minister Alex Salmond, who has called on broadcasting to be devolved from Westminster to Holyrood, has raised concerns over the level of television production carried out in Scotland.

Information obtained by BBC Scotland under freedom of information laws stated that the £500,000 provisional budget covered the current financial year.

The Scottish Broadcasting Commission will have its first meeting on 26 October.

Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said: "The SBC will be funded from within existing budgets, and will be supported by Scottish Government staff and use existing offices.

It is absolutely astonishing that the SNP believe this is the best use of half a million pounds of taxpayers' money
Malcolm Chisholm
Scottish Labour

"Mr Jenkins will receive a daily allowance as chair of £387, based on that paid to the chair of the previous administration's cultural commission, but members of the commission will be unremunerated.

"The Cultural Commission budget was around £500,000, while a similar figure has been set for the Scottish Broadcasting Commission budget it is expected that the commission's overall spend will be less as the timescale is to be quicker and speedier, as agreed with the commission chair Blair Jenkins."

Labour's culture spokesman Malcolm Chisholm said: "It is absolutely astonishing that the SNP believe this is the best use of half a million pounds of taxpayers' money.

"The SNP are paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund their commission, set up to look at something they have no responsibility for, while at the same time they are looking at making cuts to areas that are important to the people of Scotland."

Scottish Conservative culture spokesman Ted Brocklebank said: "Everything the new SNP minority government has done so far is costing the taxpayer money, without any evidence of savings. This has to stop."

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